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November 27, 2014 / 5 Kislev, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Boycott’

Controversy Bubbles Up in SodaStream Bid to Leave Samaria

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

SodaStream International, an Israeli firm, has announced a deal has been finalized to close its factory in Mishor Adumim – an industrial park in the Samaria city of Maale Adumim, ten minutes north of Jerusalem – and move to southern Israel. Negotiations have been in the works for months.

The company and anyone associated has been harassed unmercifully by the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement due to the location of the factory, which was built in an area developed by Israel after the 1967 Six Day War.

That includes actress Scarlett Johansson, who quit her post as a spokesperson for the far left Oxfam International nonprofit organization after being hassled for her ties to SodaStream.

But BDS activists somehow missed the point that the factory emphasizes co-existence in its even-handed approach to hiring some 500 Palestinian Authority Arabs as well as Jews.

With the closure of the factory, PA Arabs are the ones whose livelihoods will be hurt the most; many will find it difficult to replace their wages and working conditions (on-site mosque, etc) locally. Most may be unable to cross into pre-1967 Israel to replace their current jobs within a reasonable distance.

Even more ridiculous is the fact that SodaStream never should have been a target in the first place. Mishor Adumim was always seen as a place that would remain under Israeli control, according to the 1993 internationally-recognized Oslo Accords, signed both by Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Nevertheless, the international BDS movement has been tracking and harassing SodaStream for quite some time and apparently, it intends to continue despite the disappearance of any reason to harass its target.

One would think activists with the group would be lifting glasses of the bubbly to celebrate SodaStreams move across the so-called “Green Line” into pre-1967 Israel.

But not so. Now the group is claiming it will continue its boycott because SodaStream will move its factory next year to Lehavim, near Be’er Sheva, in the “Naqab.”

The move will bring the company a savings of two percent, officials say.

But BDS insists the factory will displace Bedouin residents of the “Naqab” – that is, the Negev. How the construction of a factory in Lehavim, an existing town, will displace Bedouin residents in the vast expanse of a region that comprises literally 60 percent of Israels land mass, is anyone’s guess.

But somehow, the BDS people have managed to twist their logic around that pretzel.

Israel, meanwhile, is providing an incentive grant of $20 million for the new factory as part of its effort to encourage revitalization in the south.

Will SodaStream try to obtain work permits for its current Arab employees? Yes, says CEO Daniel Brinbaum, of course. He will welcome them at the new plant as well – but they will face a daily trip of up to 60 miles from the original work site.

Co-existence does not go out of style in a corporate culture simply because a factory relocates. It just may be that those PA Arabs who are unable to move south with SodaStream into pre-1967 Israel will end up being replaced by Negev Bedouin.

Jews and Bedouin in southern Israel have been living and working together for decades, BDS notwithstanding. In the south, Israelis have no reason to prove anything to anyone, least of all to activists with an agenda to stir up trouble without necessity. Survival is everyone’s main priority, first and last.

Politically Correct Krimkeit

Friday, October 24th, 2014

I have focused my last few columns on what I feel is the bane of human existence – krim people. These are adult men and women who have a twisted ego: some unrealistically see themselves as being superior and Hashem’s gift to mankind – or conversely, they subconsciously have huge inferiority complexes. This unbalanced self-view can create individuals who are socially incompetent, deeply depressed and/or full of rage. Most act, react or relate in a way that is atypical and arguably pathologically abnormal.

In my opinion, two hard-to-ignore red flags that indicate the likelihood of noxious krimkeit are if someone is blatantly hypocritical and hypercritical.

As I’ve mentioned before, there is a classic Yiddish saying that nails the nature of hypocrisy. In English it translates to, “No one sees his own hunchback.” It means that people are quick to point out someone else’s flaws, but are unable or unwilling to see their own. They have the disgusting habit of constantly criticizing people for the very wrongs they themselves are guilty of.

Krimkeit, however,is not limited to the mindset and actions of just individuals. Whole groups of people, or even organizations can be disturbingly krim – especially when it comes to Jews and the State of Israel. As reported this summer in Canada’s Jewish Tribune, “the Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA) voted to divest from three companies that do business with Israel while claiming its action does not signify an alignment with the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement… The PCUSA focused on Caterpillar, Hewlett-Packard and Motorola this year because the three companies refused its requests to conform to its ‘policy on socially responsible investing.’”

This action parallels that of the United Church of Canada. As reported in May 2013 in the Huffington Post Canada, “Canada’s largest Protestant Church has identified three Israeli companies it may target for a boycott over the firms’ operations in the occupied Palestinian territories. The United Church of Canada has identified cosmetics company Ahava and home and gardens goods manufacturer Keter Plastic as companies doing business in “illegal Israeli settlements,” along with SodaStream, a company that makes home carbonation equipment for soft drinks…The church’s General Council approved a report last summer (2012) that called the Israeli occupation ‘the primary contributor to the injustice that underlies the violence of the region’ and called the settlements ‘a serious obstacle’ to peace.”

 

The majority of those who voted for these measures (to be fair, many members were greatly dismayed by the passing of these resolutions) are descendants of Christian Europeans and oblivious of their own “hunchback.” Each of them who owns a house or business or any property in North America is actually occupying land that was forcibly taken away from its true owners, the Native Americans, who lived on the land for centuries before the “pale faces” showed up.

These church-going hypocrites have not even for a moment considered that from an impartial observer of history, they could be viewed as occupiers who are continuing the tainted legacy of their ruthless, thieving ancestors. They would be howling with rage and demanding revenge and retribution if rockets and missiles from Indian reservations (in my view, a polite word for ghettos) were raining down on their country clubs and churches and schools and if suicide bombers detonated themselves in their restaurants and buses.

I imagine that it would be accurate to describe them as Christians who believe in the Bible – including the Old Testament, where it clearly states that G-d promised the Land of Israel to the Hebrews – the Jewish people – and it is their ancestral home. There was always a Jewish presence there over the centuries.

SWIFT Refuses to Suspend Israel, Russia

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014

The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) has announced it will not buckle to pressure to disconnect Israel – or for that matter, Russia – from its international transaction system.

“SWIFT regrets the pressure, as well as the surrounding media speculation, both of which risk undermining the systemic character of the services that SWIFT provides its customers around the world. As a utility with a systemic global character, it has no authority to make sanctions decisions,” the group said in a statement released on Monday.

“SWIFT services are designed to facilitate its customers’ compliance with sanctions and other regulations, however SWIFT will not make unilateral decisions to disconnect institutions from its network as a result of political pressure,” the communique said.

The international Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions (BDS) movement has been trying to pressure the system – as well as numerous corporations and other systems – to boycott Israel in an attempt to destroy its economy. BDS supporters are hoping that through economic destruction, Israel will be forced to withdraw from territory it won in the defensive war forced upon it by Arab nations in 1967 – including numerous Jerusalem neighborhoods restored to the Israeli capital since that time.

Disconnecting Israel from SWIFT would isolate its economy from international trade. However, the Brussels-based SWIFT is incorporated under Belgium law, the system noted, blocking it from making such unilateral decisions.

“Any decision to impose sanctions on countries or individual entities rests solely with the competent government bodies and applicable legislators. Being EU-based, SWIFT complies fully with all applicable European law,” the statement said.

Last month, the SWIFT system transmitted more than 21 million financial messages per day between more than 10,500 financial institutions and corporations, in 215 countries, according to the RT news site.

Over the summer there were discussions among EU leaders on whether to consider disconnecting Russia from the SWIFT system as means of pressuring Moscow into backing away from the Ukraine conflict.

Port of Oakland Loses as ZIM Moves to Friendlier Shores

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

On Sunday night, after not being able to unload at the Port of Oakland over the weekend, the ZIM Shanghai decided to head to the friendlier Port of Los Angeles, where BDS protests are ignored and ZIM ships are unload, unhindered.

The ship will arrive there Tuesday.

On Saturday, ILWU 10 and 34 released a statement claiming they are not involved in the BDS protest against unloading Israeli owned ZIM ships at the Port of Oakland, and that their workers were physically threatened by the BDS protesters. They claim their leadership and management have no role in organizing the conflict.

ILWU statement on blockage of Zim vessel by protesters at Port of Oakland, Sept. 27, 2014:

SAN FRANCISCO, CA: At 6:00 PM Saturday, ILWU Local 10 and 34 represented longshoremen and clerks dispatched to work the vessel ZIM Shanghai at SSA’s Oakland California Terminal were met with hostile demonstrators, effectively blocking all access to the terminal. Longshoremen and Clerks trying to report to work were threatened physically at some points of ingress and their personal vehicles were physically blocked. As such, all personnel stood-by outside of the demonstration perimeters for health and safety purposes. At approximately 8 PM SSA released all personnel from work.

As far as the union can ascertain, the protests are organized by a coalition of individuals and organizations that plan events and create action alerts under the name of “Block the Boat for Gaza” online.

The ILWU is not among the groups organizing the protests, and the leadership and membership of the ILWU have taken no position on the Israel/Gaza conflict.

The union released the statement after claims arose that some in their leadership were using the BDS protest to bolster their contract negotiating position with the Port. ILWU 10 workers are currently working without contracts.

The Port of Oakland is also the only port in the United States where BDS protesters have been able to intimidate and physically threaten the Longshoremen into not working.

Looking at photos of the individual protesters, it is kind of hard to imagine them physically intimidating any Longshoreman.

To their credit, some Longshoremen expressed their anger at the BDS protesters this week, cursing them, and one worker even tried to run past the protesters in their car through a back gate to try to get to work.

Members of the virulently anti-Israel ISM organization were also spotted at the BDS protest.

If union leaders were trying to use the protesters as part of their negotiations, as some claim, it appears they overplayed their hand.

The BDS protesters are looking at this as victory, but in reality, there are only losers in Oakland.

ZIM may not call on the Port of Oakland again, certainly not until the ILWU 10 has a contract and guarantees to unload ZIM ships. Other shipping companies wary of the port’s unreliability may also consider the same.

With an estimated 150 ZIM visits a year, that’s a lot of business and perhaps even jobs for the City of Oakland to lose.

Anti-Israel Group at CUNY Plots Secret Sabbath BDS Campaign

Friday, September 12th, 2014

Anti-Israel activists at the City University of New York have plotted to hold a vote this Friday night – when observant Jews cannot attend, due to Sabbath observance – on a student government divestment resolution to boycott Israel.

If passed, the resolution would activate a boycott of Israeli universities and companies.

The CUNY Doctoral Students’ Council (DSC) was accused by pro-Israel student activists and others of deliberately scheduling the vote for a day and time that maximized the chances opponents would not be available to protest the measure.

News of the upcoming divestment resolution vote was quietly circulated among supporters only, according to sources aware of the situation, the Washington Free Beacon reported.

An internal DSC email was leaked which informed its members that no hard copies of materials about the resolution would be handed out at the meeting, “in the interest of being environmentally friendly.”

“It is a routine tactic of [the pro-BDS group Students for Justice in Palestine, which is behind the resolution] to hold votes on or near Jewish holidays so that Jewish voices can’t be heard,” said Jacob Baime, executive director of the Israel on Campus Coalition. “When people learn the facts BDS loses. Essentially SJP is afraid of the facts and doesn’t want to engage in debate which is why they planned this vote in secret on a Jewish holiday,” Baime said. “Even if this passes, CUNY will maintain its robust partnerships with Israeli institutions. Passing this resolution would have one effect: Dividing the campus.”

Asked to address the timing of the vote, CUNY director of media relations, Tanya Domi, told the Washington Free Beacon, “the Doctoral Student Council routinely meets and votes on Friday afternoons commencing at 6 pm.”

This is not the first time that DSC has attempted to wage an economic and cultural war against Israel. The group tried to pass a similar resolution in May as part of the worldwide Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

Detached From Reality: US Renews Travel Warning Against Israel

Thursday, September 11th, 2014

The U.S. State Department has again warned its citizens against traveling to Israel, equating the dangers facing people in the Jewish State with those facing visitors to areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority. The warning comes on the eve of the 13th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attack on America by the global Al Qaeda Islamist terrorist organization — and just ahead of the Hebrew month of Tishrei, the start of the Jewish high holy days.

The new travel warning replaced that posted on July 21 during the height of Israel’s counter terror Operation Protective Edge, when Hamas was firing rockets and missiles at Israel daily from Gaza. To read it, one would believe the war is still in progress. But to walk the streets of Israel, one knows without a doubt it’s over. Schools are overflowing and so are the stores, which are filled with the latest fall fashions in Be’er Sheva, Ra’anana and even in Ramallah.

This is total silliness. Or perhaps a veiled attempt to sabotage the Israeli economy, which although damaged by the war is still in much better shape than that of Gaza.

Or even maybe it’s an attempt to take a swing at the Ramallah-based Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) headed by Fatah’s Mahmoud Abbas — with whom Hamas is currently locked in a power struggle over control of the Palestinian Authority unity government, which the two factions agreed to this spring.

Sour grapes? Also maybe. Hamas is backed by Iran, Qatar, and Turkey, and demanded unsuccessfully the latter two nations be allowed to participate in cease-fire negotiations in Cairo. Although at the end they were not allowed, Secretary of State John Kerry consulted with both at a meeting in Paris at the height of the war. All three are close allies of the Muslim Brotherhood, and the United States recently signed an $11 billion military contract with Qatar. Egypt and Saudi Arabia have backed Ramallah, which has recently resumed its stance in supporting Israel on a crackdown on terrorism.

But to read the U.S. travel warning, one could believe there’s an active war zone at play.

“During the recent conflict between Israel and terrorist organizations in Gaza, long-range rockets launched from Gaza reached many locations in Israel and the West Bank including Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and other cities in the north and south. A ceasefire was announced on August 26 and, as of the date of this Travel Warning, is holding. The Government of Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system has successfully intercepted many rockets. However, in some cases missile impacts caused damage and injuries,” the travel warning reads – as if a cease-fire with Hamas was never reached.

“U.S. citizen visitors to and U.S. citizen residents of Israel and the West Bank should familiarize themselves with the location of the nearest bomb shelter or other hardened site. Consult municipality websites, such as those for Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, for lists of public bomb shelters and other emergency preparedness information. Visitors should seek information on shelters from hotel staff or building managers. We advise all US citizens to follow the instructions of the Home Front Command on proper procedures in the event of rocket attacks or other crisis events.”

Commercial flights to and from Ben Gurion International Airport are operating as usual, the warning notes, “although delays and cancellations can occur. Travelers should check with their airline prior to their planned travel to verify the flight schedule. Other border crossings are generally operating as normal; however, travelers should check the status of crossings before embarking on trips. See information on the status of the airport and other crossings.”

And What About Our Prize-Winning Wines?‏

Monday, August 18th, 2014

What’s next in the creeping Nazism of Europe. Yes, I’m calling it Nazism when Israeli Jewish businesses are being systematically banned from Europe.

Israel to Stop Exports of ‘Settlement Products’ to EU Israel will end its export of poultry and dairy produce from communities beyond the Green Line, in line with EU directives.

Only the historically blind can insist that there’s no connection between the early anti-Jewish restrictions in Germany and what is going on now. And the worst is that the Israeli Government is cooperating Judenrat style with this! Judenrat As far back as 1933, Nazi policy makers had discussed establishing Jewish-led institutions to carry out anti-Jewish policies. The concept was based upon centuries-old practices which were instituted in Germany during the Middle Ages. As the German army swept through Poland and the Soviet Union, it carried out an order of S.S. leader Heydrich to require the local Jewish populace to form Jewish Councils as a liaison between the Jews and the Nazis. These councils of Jewish elders, were responsible for organizing the orderly deportation to the death camps, for detailing the number and occupations of the Jews in the ghettos, for distributing food and medical supplies, and for communicating the orders of the ghetto Nazi masters. The Nazis enforced these orders on the Judenrat with threats of terror, which were given credence by beatings and executions. As ghetto life settled into a “routine,” the Judenrat took on the functions of local government, providing police and fire protection, postal services, sanitation, transportation, food and fuel distribution, and housing, for example……When the Nazis required a quota of Jews to participate in forced labor, the Judenrat had the responsibility to meet this demand. Sometimes Jews could avoid forced labor by making a payment to the Judenrat. These payments supplemented the taxes which the Judenrat levied to finance the services provided in the ghettos. (Jewish Virtual Library)

What is the point of having our own state when it cooperates with those who are against us?

Now Europe is blocking dairy and poultry, but next it will be fruit and vegetables and after that the import of wine and our participation in wine contests. Just wait!

For the past few years, Israeli wines from the Benjamin and Samaria areas have been consistent winners at prestigious Israeli and international wine competitions:

Rechallim: A Samaria (Shomron) vineyard has won the “Oscar Award of Wine” in Israel’s annual Golden Grapes competition.The Tura vineyard in the settlement of Rachelim won both the gold and the silver medals in the annual Eshkol HaZahav – the Golden Grapes – competition. The prestigious award has been dubbed by international connoisseurs as “the Oscar of wine.”

and

Samaria Regional Council head Gershon Mesika sent his congratulations to the owners of the Har Bracha winery for two medals won in 2013 DECANTER competition held in Britain. Shira and Nir Lavie established their own winery in the Samaria region ten years ago, when they realised other wineries in the country were interested in buying the grapes they produced. This young winery took a silver medal for its 2011 Petit Syrah and a bronze for its 2009 Highlander Cabernet Sauvignon Gold. With over 14,000 wines from 52 countries in the competition, this is no small honour. Har Bracha, which produces about 30,000 bottles a year, is now one of seven wineries in the Samaria region. As farmers realise the perfect mix of altitude, climate, and soil available for grape-growing, wine production has become more popular there.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/shiloh-musings/and-what-about-our-prize-winning-wines%e2%80%8f/2014/08/18/

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